BLM California News.Bytes Issue 919

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news bytes - bureau of land management californiaCactus on a landscape with small brush covering the ground, mountains in the background, and rain coming down on the right side of the photo.

Santa Rosa Flat, Ridgecrest Field Office - Photo by Martin Oliver, BLM
2020 photo contest winner

ISSUE 919- September 10, 2020

Headlines & Highlights

Fire burning on a hillside with smoke billowing in the background.

No open flames on BLM-managed lands

Due to high fire danger, fire restrictions were increased on all BLM-managed lands to prohibit use of ALL open flames, including campfires, BBQ’s and stoves, in addition to the statewide fire prevention order and local fire and target shooting restrictions listed below.

Seasonal target shooting restrictions are in effect for the Redding Field Office, portions of the California Desert District and all of Central California District. Target shooting restrictions do not apply to individuals with a valid State of California hunting license participating in hunting seasons in areas established by the state. (BLM CA Fire Restrictions)

A desert with RV's parked.

Long-Term Visitor Areas in southern California opening

The Bureau of Land Management in California is planning to offer normal services and facilities at the Long-Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) for the upcoming winter season. The season will begin on schedule on September 15 at some southern CA areas. While we plan to maintain facilities and services as we do each year, LTVA visitors can be best prepared by bringing their own sanitation supplies such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. (BLM CA Website)

Brown dog sitting in grass with a snowy mountain behind him.

K-9 Goose has retired!

After 10 years of service with our K-9 unit, Goose has retired and will be spending his golden years with a wonderful family. Goose has been an instrumental part of our BLM family and has served with distinction, honor, and bravery. Goose was always ready for duty and has been part of numerous high-profile operations. He assisted on many marijuana eradication operations, patrolled the CA Desert District on holiday weekends, provided security on the Carr Fire, and served as an ambassador at numerous fairs and children’s events. Goose also participated in the annual Bakersfield PD K-9 trials, placing each year he participated. Goose, we thank you for your service, you will truly be missed! (BLM CA Facebook)

Woman holding a shotgun sitting on the tailgate of a truck with hunting gear in the bed.

Dove hunting continues, dunes tourism uncertain for the coming season

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is continuing to work with local officials to determine the best and safest step forward at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Essential staff are preparing for the season using COVID-mitigation standards in the field. (Holtville Tribune)

Six horses standing in a field of dry grass.

Virtually visit a wild horse off-range pasture near Davis, Oklahoma!

BLM is conducting a virtual tour via Facebook Live on Sept. 21, 2020 starting at 9 a.m. Mountain Time. Join BLM staff specialists and the ranch owner as they walk through the pasture to see the horses and discuss details about how and why the agency manages these American icons.

(BLM CA News Release)

Graphic that says Explore Locally and has a drawing of a house next to a mountian.

Stick close to home!

Limit long-distance travel and make use of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Be mindful of your impact on the communities you visit and #RecreateResponsibly!

To find the closest recreation area, visit:

Bobcat walking on sand.

Let’s take a look at the most common wildcat in North America, the bobcat

Named for its short, bobbed tail, they are excellent hunters, stalking prey with stealth and patience, then capturing their meals with one great leap. Territories are established with scent markings and territory sizes are extremely varied – generally 25-30 square miles for males and about five square miles for females.(BLM CA Facebook)

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

Bureau of Land Management logo

BLM Redding Field Office temporarily suspends recreational target shooting

 The Bureau of Land Management is temporarily suspending permission for recreational target shooting on public lands managed by its Redding Field Office in Shasta, Tehama, Trinity, Butte and Siskiyou counties.  This includes the popular Iron Mountain shooting area in west Redding. The ban on recreational shooting does not apply to hunters participating in hunting seasons and areas established by the state of California. (BLM CA News Release)

Glow from wildfire seen between trees on a hillside.

All California forests, including Tahoe's, to close as fires rage

As fires spread across the state, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has announced an additional 10 closures for 5 p.m. Wednesday evening. The move means that all 18 of California's National Forests will be closed. (SF Gate)

Fire crews exiting an airplane.

NIFC mobilizes Canadian fire crews to provide wildland fire support

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho is mobilizing three wildland firefighting hand crews from Quebec, Canada to assist with wildfire suppression efforts in California. (NIFC News Release)

View looking into a valley with large amounts of brown, dying trees with power lines overhead.

‘Ground zero’ for dead trees. How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

California’s mega-drought officially ended three years ago but may have turned the Creek Fire into a monster. By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said Tuesday. (Sacramento Bee)

A smokey San Francisco skyline with the silhouette of a bird flying by.

During fire season in California, breathing feels like a luxury

For the last few years, fall in California has given residents a glimpse of the apocalypse. Fires burn around us, the air becomes ashy and smells like a campfire, and the sharp edges of landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge blur in the hazy air. Taking a deep breath becomes a dodgy proposition that may set off a coughing fit, and the sun appears in the sky like a red moon behind the haze. We close our windows to avoid breathing smoke-infested air, stop going outside, and wear N95 masks—and that was before the pandemic. (TIME)

Fire glowing on a hillside with the silhouette of a suspension bridge in the foreground.

Explosive wildfires across California stoked by fierce winds

Wildfires raged unchecked across parts of the western U.S. on Wednesday amid gusty and dry conditions, but forecasters said some weather relief was in sight that could help firefighters overwhelmed by the blazes. In California, winds stoked unprecedented numbers of fires that have forced rescues and evacuations. In Washington, more acres burned in a single day than firefighters usually see all year. (Associated Press)

Eight marines posing for a photo in front of a large fire vehicle.

U.S. Marine Crash Fire Rescue joins Slink Fire battle

U.S. Marine firefighters arrived on scene to support firefighting efforts for the Slink Fire near Coleville, California, September 4. The Marines, Crash Fire Rescue personnel with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, joined the interagency firefighting force that has been battling the Slink Fire since it started August 29. (U.S.Marines)

Silhouette of firefighter standing in front of a field that is burning.

For the latest info on current wildfires in CA, visit these helpful websites:

- Inciweb 
- Cal Fire
- National Fire Situational Awareness Tool 

Remember to follow your local fire units on social media for updates specific to your area and heed all evacuation warning & orders.

Map of the US showing the fire outlook in red.

Wildland fire outlook

Check out the latest #WildlandFireOutlook! Available here. (BLM Fire Facebook)

Current Fire Restrictions & Closures

Graphic that says BLM Fire Restrictions on Public Lands

BLM California has issued season fire restrictions due to increased wildland fire danger in the state. Here’s an interactive MAP showing all current fire restrictions. Be sure to bookmark it for future use!

Due to high fire danger, fire restrictions were increased on all BLM-managed lands to prohibit use of ALL open flames, including campfires, BBQ’s and stoves, in addition to the statewide fire prevention order and local district fire and target shooting restrictions listed below.

Seasonal target shooting restrictions are in effect for the Redding Field Office, portions of the California Desert District and all of Central California District. The target shooting restrictions do not apply to individuals with a valid State of California hunting license participating in hunting seasons in areas established by the state.

Temporary Emergency Closures

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and adjacent areas
Junction City Campground near Redding

Huge smoke pyrocumulous cloud above a forest.

San Joaquin River Gorge Recreation Area

The BLM Bakersfield Field Office has issued a temporary emergency closure of the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area in Fresno and Madera counties due to wildland fire danger from the Creek Fire, effective immediately. (BLM CA News Release)

Map of the Pacific Crest Trail closure.

A portion of the Pacific Crest Trail closed due to the Valley Fire in San Diego County

A section of the Pacific Crest Trail managed by the BLM has been temporarily closed due to the #ValleyFire currently burning in the Lawson Valley and Japatul areas located in San Diego County. The closure impacts approximately 10.5 miles of trail between Highway 94 near the community of Campo, Calif., and the Cleveland National Forest boundary on Hauser Mountain in San Diego County. (BLM CA News Release)

BLM & DOI Highlights

President Trump holding a signed bill.

ICYMI: No Offshore Drilling around Florida and the Southern Atlantic

In August, President Trump told Floridians that drilling off their coast was “not going to happen,” because “the people of Florida just don’t want it.” President Trump made that announcement official this week in Jupiter where he signed a Presidential Memorandum withdrawing new leasing for oil and gas developments off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina for the next 12 years. (DOI News Release)

Tortoise standing in brown grasses.

BLM reviews how to build solar plant without harming desert tortoises

One option for minimizing the environmental effects of a proposed solar farm in the Nevada desert would be to mow the vegetation where the panels would be installed rather than ripping it up, under a proposal being considered by federal land managers. The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its final environmental impact statement for the Yellow Pine Solar Project west of Las Vegas. It includes alternatives for how to handle the proposed development given concerns about the threatened Mojave desert tortoise and other effects on soil, vegetation and cultural resources. (3 News Las Vegas)

Silhouette of firefighter in front of a fire.

Be the one to ask

It's mid-September, we're at PL 5, and the wildland fire community is humming. Fire activity is up: in some cases, way up. Compared to last year, California has seen over 2,650 more fires and a nearly 2000% increase in the acres burned. Across the country firefighters are leaning into the challenge of longer seasons and bigger fires. As individuals this shared experience shapes our identity and gives us purpose. Working in fire creates an incredible sense of belonging. (DOI News Release)

A manatee swimming with fish in the water.

ICYMI: Asst. Sec. for Fish, Wildlife, Parks Wallace: Manatee, Hawaiian goose and more imperiled species being saved

No administration in history has recovered more imperiled species in their first term than the Trump Administration. This may come as a surprise to some given the lack of media attention on these success stories, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its other public and private partners have prioritized and been dedicated to conserving and recovering imperiled species at a record rate. (DOI News Release)

Question of the Week - Wildlife

A rattlesnake hidden in some sticks.

Which of the following is not a characteristic of a rattlesnake?


A. Triangular head, larger than its neck

B. Slender, glossy body

C. Tail is blunt with one or more rattles

D. Will defend themselves if disturbed or threatened

Keep scrolling to find the answer.

Upcoming Events

Oil field equipment.

Public comments for the oil and gas lease sale in Kern County are due by September 25th

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Field Office is seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment for a December 2020 oil and gas lease sale. There are seven parcels totaling approximately 4,330 acres of Federal minerals proposed for lease. All parcels are located in or adjacent to existing oilfields in Kern County. (BLM CA News Release)

Question of the Week Answer

The answer is B! Rattlesnakes have a thick, dull, non-glossy body. In California, you may encounter two common snakes – the rattlesnake and the gopher snake. Often mistaken for their poisonous cousin, the gopher snake has a slender, glossy body and it’s head is only slightly larger than it’s neck. Snakes are important members of the natural community. Give them distance and respect!

Source: California Herps